Day 121 – August 5, 2014

Six years of chemistry graduate study, three years of post-doctoral research, ten years of industrial work– I have built a career in the physical sciences that paid well. Now unemployed, I wish I missed science more.

With four months perspective away from the job, I recognize the punishing one-hour commute, the boredom at work, the low confidence of management, and my desultory attitude. Perhaps I should have quit work sooner than six years into the position, but I needed a ramp of ennui to sever the relationship.

Now I worry I will not want to return to science. A career change could indicate that I made the wrong educational choice and wasted ten years of work. If not science, then what? Other professions like software or art installation might hire me, but at lower pay, less seniority, and less stability.

I have already left chemistry once seven years ago after my E-Ink job and returned. I’ll likely be back to the lab sooner than I like for the right employer.

Or not. I enjoy drastic life changes and perhaps it is time for a new chapter. I enjoyed my twenty years (!) of life sciences, met some wonderful colleagues, and traveled the world. I thank the profession, but I realize chemistry jobs are dwindling.